Grampian Drug-Related Death Monitoring Group (GDRDMG) Terms of Reference

Secretariat and Support

Sarah Grant, Public Health Officer Substance Misuse to co-ordinate.


Consultant in Public Health Medicine, NHSG
Aberdeen City ADP Support Team Leader
Aberdeenshire ADP Support Team Manager
Moray ADP Support Team Leader
Police Substance Misuse Co-ordinator, Police Scotland
Public Health Officer Substance Misuse, NHSG
HMP Grampian
HMP Inverness
Consultant Psychiatrist                                                           Chair
SMS Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire, NHSG
Moray Integrated Drug and Alcohol Service
North of Scotland Justice Authority
Scottish Ambulance Service


The reconstitution of this group came out of a long-standing concern on the topic of harm reduction. Some additional impetus was given by ‘Recommendation 22’  of the “Social Work Inspection Agency (SWIA) report: Multi-agency inspection: substance misuse services in Grampian 2007” and Recommendation 13 of Taking Action to Reduce Scotland’s Drug-Related Deaths (2005). Both of these publications advised  ADAT’s (now ADP’s) to initiate processes to monitor drug related deaths. The ADP’s in Grampian agreed to work together on this issue to avoid duplication of effort.

Key national documents of reference include:

National Investigation into Drug Related Deaths in Scotland, 2003


The focus of the group is:

  • to clarify the local definition of drug-related deaths and how this compares to the definition used     nationally
  • to monitor trends in Grampian in drug-related deaths, including selected risk factors
  • to facilitate the review of drug-related deaths where the person was and was not known to services.
  • to inform strategic and operational work on the part of Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray Alcohol and Drug Partnerships in preventing such deaths (e.g. through audit or participation in service reviews)
  • to consider undertaking exploratory work on alcohol-related deaths, consistent with national work.


  • facilitate the establishment of a local surveillance system for collation of patient-specific information from all relevant agencies, for people dying of drug-related causes, as defined locally in Grampian and contributeto the National Drug Related Death Database (NDRDD).
  • review surveillance data including identified trends for drug-related deaths on a quarterly basis and approve summary reports for further dissemination
  • advise on procedures for the review of drug-related deaths where the person was known to services
  • consider adding alcohol-related deaths into reporting and monitoring procedures, similarly to those for drug-related deaths
  • disseminate relevant information to stakeholders.

Sources of Data

Confidential collation of patient specific data will be derived from:

  • Police Service of Scotland.
  • Substance Misuse Service, NHS Grampian
  • Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray Local Authorities
  • Scottish Prison Service
  • Scottish Ambulance Service
  • Criminal Justice Social Work
  • Voluntary Sector Agencies
  • Primary Care
  • Community Pharmacy

National Drug Related Death Database

The purpose of the database will be to collect information relating to contact with services, for individuals who have died as a result of involvement with illegal drugs.  Analysis to identify patterns and trends will be carried out. Findings which may suggest specific risks or areas of opportunity to take action will be offered to services involved with substance misuse to aid in service planning and service improvement.


  • Information on individuals who have died in Grampian, where substance misuse is implicated in the death will come from the Procurator Fiscal via the Substance Misuse Co-ordinator of Police Scotland.  The information will include name, date of birth, home address, occupation, place of death, certified cause of death, post-mortem toxicology reports and some information around the circumstances of death.
  • Information about contact with services (SMS, local authority, SPS) prior to death will be requested and collated. The CHI database will be interrogated to extract GP registration information as well as to cross reference names, addresses and dates of birth
  • A spreadsheet detailing names, addresses, date of birth and date of death will be sent to  designated persons from the agencies named above. Each agency will be asked for information about what contact these individuals had with their service (if any).
  • Basic analysis will be undertaken to determine risk factors and trend analysis from the information collated.
  • It is likely that a dedicated resource will be required to complete this work.

Information Governance

  • Information sharing will be done under the GDRDMG ‘Data Sharing Protocol’ subordinate to ‘The Gold Standard Information Sharing Protocol’ which has been produced by the Scottish Government through Open Scotland.
  • Once collated, only anonymised trend information will be shared with members of the group. This information will also be shared on a periodic basis with local Alcohol and Drugs Partnerships.
  • The Excel work books which will hold the collated data will be registered with NHS Grampian Information Governance. They will be password protected and stored on a server with limited access (N drive Summerfield House)
  • Legal requests for access to identifiable information held on the database will be passed to the NHS Grampian Legal team for their advice before proceeding.

Frequency & Venue

4-monthly meetings in Aberdeen.


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